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Viewing posts categorised under: Hydrogen

Corona Virus tragedy – drop in oil price and Hydrogen economy

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drop in oil price and Hydrogen. April 22 2020 today , and no reported cases of COVID19 in Perth for the past 4 days. Social Distancing is working.

The recent Covid 19 crisis has had a significant effect on global pollution from reduced operation of Internal combustion engines. It has also affected the Hydrogen economy due to the sudden drop in the price of a barrel of oil the the point where is is now a negative value. THis has had a major impact on the promotion of hydrogen as a fuel .

drop in oil price and Hydrogen. Sales of hydrogen fuel systems has dropped significantly. Fortunately the excellent marketing of these systems before 2020 , means we are financially in a good condition . It has given us more time to look at ways of increasing the output and efficiency of the hydrogen generator systems as well as looking deeper into developing improved Electronic Fuel enhancer modules for diesel and petrol / gasoline fueled vehicles

We have further updated the power supply units so as to reduce wasted electrical energy ( as heat) and increase the gas production of these systems.

We have also developed a new electrolyte solution and dynamic pumping system that further increases the gas production output for a low current input.

The Power supplies use a patented schematic arrangement that is easily incorporated into old and new hydrogen systems to increase the gas output. Unfortunately at present we will not be showing photos of the electronic components until the patent is fully approved. The Pumping system we are using is a high power magnetic rotor pump that has high efficiency as well as having now rotor seals that leak and fail with age. With the new pulsating power supply system powering the pump and cells there is no wasted electrical energy making the solution heat up. This protects the magnetic impeller pump as Heat is the greatest problem with any magnetic assembly,

More to come on the next report

Gen 20 Hydrogen systems with 1500 watt power supplies in diecast aluminium boxes ready for mounting boxes
Gen 20 Hydrogen systems with 1500 watt power supplies

New power Supply/electrolysis cell combination

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New power Supply/electrolysis cell combination

After several months of extensive trials and improvements a  HFS PWM power supply / electro-winning cell combination has finally been released.
New power Supply/electrolysis cell combination.  This “Combination”  has the current control control ability of the older style inefficient PWM Power supply modules without the problems of massive voltage drop on the internal circuitry and overheating / thermal runaway of the old inefficient  systems.
This power supply is designed and proven to work on hydrogen generators , unlike the older PWM units that are designed for motor speed control functions.

Contact Gavan on 0403177183 glknox11@live.com,     https://hydrogenfuelsystems.com.au

Mosfet as a Hydrogen Fuel System Switch

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This blog is a Product of           https://www.hydrogenfuelsystems.com.au

Mosfet as a Hydrogen Fuel-System Switch. MOSFET’s make very good electronic switches for controlling loads and in CMOS digital circuits as they operate between their cut-off and saturation regions.

MOSFET’s are relatively simple  electronic devices which being voltage controlled devices , with current draw low in the GS circuit , means that is not going to be a device that is strong consumer of electrical energy.   The figure below basically shows that the MOSFET circuit equates to a simple switch which can be switched on by adjusting  the input voltage to the gate terminal

Hydrogen generators have been proven to work in improving engine power and efficiency . and so there have been a flux of “would be , could be” inventors with little or no knowledge of electro-chemistry, who  having viewed fake reports on YOUTUBE  of work on hydrogen generation , have suddenly become “Experts”  in the Discipline of Chemical Engineering and are convinced in the  “Conspiracy Theory” that tertiary trained Scientists are puppets of the petrochemical industry  and cant be trusted. They are convinced they can solve the worlds energy problem and know that Free energy does exist.

There is no such thing as free energy and hydrogen generation is not an example of free energy. 

Hydrogen does increase the power and efficiency of an internal combustion engine because it increases the Chemical Thermodynamic Efficiency of an internal combustion engine.   

Now if your  want to learn  more about Chemical Thermodynamics click on the following link and Read, Explore, Learn.           

C-02-A-Chemistry-Chapter-11-May-17

These circuits are simple to build and provide an effective means of controlling a hydrogen generating circuit without wasting electrical energy producing a high frequency  modulated circuit that is prone to overheating and failure.

The empirical voltage required  for hydrogen generation in electrolysis is close to 2.2 volts.  A modern vehicle alternator is able to generate between 13.2 and 13.8 volts.  Effectively this means that 6 cells each operating at 2.2 volt uses all the applied  Voltage / input energy of a Modern Battery/ alternator.  Common power supply units used in most hydrogen generators are PWM circuits that Use between 1.5 and 2 volts in controlling the power supplied to these inefficient hydrogen generators such as the  neutral plate systems.

This is tragic as it equates to losing a major percentage of the input energy.  Using the MOSFET Circuits designed by hydrogenfuelsystems pty ltd avoids this loss provides more energy for generating hydrogen Gas.

There are several effective  patented  units which will be shown in a later post  on this site.  There are many less efficient systems which  can be easily identified by developing an understanding of how DC power supply systems work

In the meantime any budding electronics wizz can use the post shown below, linked heading MOSFET as a Switch             

to design you own efficient power supply switch.

 

 

 

MOSFET as a Switch

 

High Current DC switches for use on Hydrogen generator systems

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High Current DC Switch for use on hydrogen fuel systems

High Current DC switches. Mechanical relays used to be the way to switch high currents; these days, we have a whole class of FETs available to do that job.

I use this small board to gate the power supply current to one of my solid-state amplifiers, but it can be used as a gate for almost anything requiring the switching of DC currents up to 100 amps.

With the FET shown here, this board is set up to switch 28 volts at up to 30 amps, and at that load, will drop only half a volt across the FET. When used to gate the power to one of the 23cm 150w amplifiers (10A or so), the loss across the switch is only about 2 tenths of a volt.

Consequently much less electrical energy is lost in the electronic components , leaving more electrical energy available to produce Hydrogen gas / chemical energy

This Post is a simple design that avoids the faulty and defective design used for common Hydrogen generator systems. Typically a PWM power supply is used for Hydrogen generators , but a PWM unit is designed for DC motor control circuits. A PWM is not for electrolysis circuits. Whats the difference you ask……. Good question.

High Current DC switches.

A DC motor has inductive coils which produce a back voltage when operating and reduce their efficiency. BY having a pulse wave modulation system , high frequency DC pulses are produced. This avoids the Back voltage problem and making the DC motor efficiency increase. In an electrolysis circuit there is no such inductive back voltage to reduce the efficiency. Using a PWM unit simply introduces an electronic circuit that uses electrical energy , overheats and limits the efficiency of the hydrogen Generator circuit . SO AGAIN I HEAR YOU ASK , WHY ARE WE USING PWM POWER SUPPLIES. Its great that out ESP is switched on today

Good Question… simple answer. A PWM circuit is an easy control unit to use , especially by so called “EXPERTS in HHO”. Experts who have little more than a Primary school education , and specializing in finger painting. Am I arrogant, sometimes rude, opinionated, Educated, Multi skilled? Yes I am a Teacher with Multiple University degrees , a University Resaerch Scientist and Teacher? I AM an expert in Chemistry, Theoretical Physics, Chemical and Civil Engineering and Education. I know We need to effectively tackle the problem of Global warmng with “REAL” Science not make believe “witch doctor mumbo Jumbo”. My systems are patented and proven. This passage is all about effectively manufacturing Hydrogen and in particular effective power supply systems to produce it

Please read ahead in the following passage and learn how to provide power without wasting input energy. The MOSFET circuits shown can be easily “daisy chained” together in parallel to provide better regulated power. It does not overheat, does not waste energy as a high frequency pulsating supply and works in all conditions . Email me at glknox11@live.com if you have any more questions . Happy reading.

With minor component changes on the board, and the selection of a different FET, the switching of voltages and currents much higher than that can be achieved. Alternatively, additional FETs can be connected in parallel for higher currents, each one sharing the board connections. Configured like this, the FETs must be identical types, preferably from the same lot number.

For the newer 65v LDMOS amplifiers, I added a higher voltage version of this switch to the parts page, capable of handling up to 80v at 50 amps (this switch uses a 100v device.

To operate the switch, all that is required is grounding the ‘on’ port. Current at this port is only 5ma. Un-grounding this port turns the switch back off.

When used with a sequencer or an amplifier control board, this port should be connected to event 2 (so that the amplifier is switched on after the antenna relays have been switched at event 1).

 An extra port is placed on the board to allow the switch to be disabled by an emergency signal (the ‘disable’ port). This port is typically handled by the “kill” function of a control board, which can signal an immediate overriding shutdown during a system fault condition. It does this by pulling the port low.

High Current DC switches. Another application using this extra port is the operation of a remote LNA and it’s bypass relay, which are typically energized by default. Connecting the “on” port to ground, and then the “disable” port to event 1 of a sequencer or control board will allow the LNA to remain on during receive, and then bypassed during the transmit cycle.

The table below the schematic lists the correct R5 values for 12v or 28v operation. Values for 2 different FETs are listed. The voltages shown are approximate ranges, and the ranges can overlap a bit. For example, the 12v configuration would be OK for 9 to 20v, and the 28v values would work well from 20 to about 36v.

High Current DC switches. The kit offered on the parts page (rev 3) is an upgrade to the one shown in the photo above, and can be set up for 12, 28 or 48 volts. The 48v optimization has a range of about 35 to at least 58v. The setup table for this version is shown below the schematic:

Client Questions and Answers regarding using Hydrogen Fuel Systems for cars, trucks generators, pumps

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Questions and Answers hydrogen use with diesel , petrol, gasoline, lpg

Client questions regarding using Hydrogen Fuel Systems for cars, trucks generators, pumps

A useful set of questions was sent to me by an International client.  These questions are possible common queries that I have answered here to help you the prospective client.

  1. Can you forward us a block diagram for connections to system?

This is answered under the heading Installation instructions which can be  searched for on the home page

  • What are other Equipment’s required like MCB, cables ,etc.?

Other equipment used / required are –

  1. double insulated twin core 6 mm cable for cars and 8mm for trucking
  2. 30 amp 12 volt / 24 volt circuit Breaker
  3. 30 amp. 12volt / 24 volt relay switch
  4. 50 amp anderson plug
  5. Potassium Hydroxide electrolyte
  6. Distilled water or rain water
  7. What are requirements for installation?

This is answered under the heading “Installation instructions” which can be  searched for on the home page       https://hydrogenfuelsystems.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/installation-Instructions-4-1.pdf

  • Any training is required? How can we get it?

Prefer using an auto electrician who can read and follow the installation instructions on the web-page….Personal  Training is available by my company auto electrician in Perth West Australia. Email me at glknox11@live.com questions and answers hydrogen

  • Which are replaceable parts?

Pumps are replaceable, Power supplies are replaceable.  In fact all parts are replaceable  but system has  been designed to last indefinitely unless abused

  • How frequently replacement is needed?

Pumps have a 30,000 hour lifespan but last longer under  normal operating conditions …. MY vehicle pumps are 9 years old and working well after 200,000 km

Electronic Power supplies have no stipulated life span and will last indefinitely   … again my vehicle power supply is 9 years old …. There are no wearing parts

  • How these parts can be available?

I CAN SUPPLY PARTS  AS SOON AS  requested

  • What maintenance is required?

Only maintenance is to use distilled water.   Three teaspoon ( 30 grams) of potassium Hydroxide lasts indefinitely as it is never lost from the solution

Clean out cells every 3 years with dilute vinegar solution

One litre of water lasts 10 hours at 22 amp

questions and answers hydrogen

  • How frequently?

3 yearly replace electrolyte and wash out with dilute vinegar solution

One litre of water lasts 10 hours at 22 amp

  1. What is life of system?

Cells do not wear

11.   How to choose the system size? For example:-

a.       We have an installation with 35KVA connected load and 80 to 90 Kwh per day consumption?

A 35KVA generator is  typically  3.3 litre, turbo charged 3 cylinder vertical in-line engine and is best suited to a Gen 10 system

b.      We have another installation with 20KVA connected load and 400 to 480 Units per day consumption?

A 35 KVA generator is  typically  2.14 litre, turbo charged 3 cylinder vertical in-line engine and is best suited to a Gen 10 system

Gen 10 systems are suited to engines up to 4 litre capacity

Gen 15 systems are suited to engines to 8 litre capacity

Larger generators can be serviced by multiple Gen 15 systems connected In parallel up to 19 litre capacity

Generators greater than 19 litre capacity are available but are custom made systems

Which capacity system is useful?

Ground-Breaking Power supplies Massively Increase Hydrogen gas output

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Ground-Breaking Power supplies Massively Increase Hydrogen gas output

Ground-Breaking Power supplies.  For more information call Gavan 0403177183 glknox11@live.com

glknox@dodo.com.au

https://www.hydrogenfuelsystems.com.au

Ground-Breaking Power supplies. As part of our ongoing R and D I have dedicated time into improving the power supply and control modules which power the Hydrogen generator cell.

One of the issues of any electrolysis unit for mobile units is the available voltage and to a lesser extent the available current.

Current flow is essential to produce hydrogen  gas and using Faradays laws (1832) it is easy to calculate the amount of electrical current needed to produce a given quantity of Hydrogen gas.  Some of the “experts”  on free energy sites still believe that all they need is a resonant and a low current.  My definition of these “EX SPURTS” is that they are a “Drips” under pressure , – Pressure to prove they actually know somewhat more than a “demented earthworm”.

Excuse  my irritation on free energy morons and Getting back to the essential developments of this post….Power supplies

2 electrons are required for every molecule or hydrogen gas produced and electrical current is the flow of electrons through a conductor… 22 amp of current at 13.2 volts supplies enough electrons for a maximum of 0f 4.2 Litre of Hydrogen / oxygen  gas. Any less energy than that will reduce the gas produced.

When producing a DC power supply of fixed current , we have been conditioned to use electronic components such as constant current PWM devices.  There are several faults of such devices in control o fa DC current supply

  1. The electronics of the circuit introduces an internal resistance into the electrolysis circuit which reduces the available voltage for the unit and therefore the number of available cells that can be used for generating hydrogen gas. The REDOX potential for converting water into hydrogen and oxygen is 1.23 volts.  The internal resistance of the electrolysis produces a back voltage of 0.5 volt  and at least 0.5 volt overvoltage is required per cell to sustain a reasonable current flow through the cell. This equates to at least 2.2 volt is required to generate a useful supply of hydrogen gas from an electrolysis cell.  If we are using 6 cells then  we need 6 times 2.2 volt = 13.2 volt , to generate a reasonable supply of hydrogen gas. IF we have a PWM unit that is using 2 volts due to  internal resistance, that reduces our number of usable cells to 5 and drops the system efficiency by almost 20%.        Far too great a power / energy efficiency loss
  1. The PWM units are frequency modulated devices designed for use on DC motors designed to reduce back voltage loss due to reverse inductance and lenses law. This is not a motor and pointless using a complex frequency generating circuit that uses electrical energy in pretending to reach the resonant frequency of water. – which is several  giga-hertz not kilo-hertz as produced by commercial PWM devices.
  2. The High frequency PWM circuit forces the electrolysis cell to act as a capacitor , constantly charging and discharging and introducing a resistance known as Capacitive reactance.  Capacitive reactance is an internal resistance that uses more of the available input voltage , further putting a strain   on the voltage required for the OXIDATION / REDUCTION reaction producing water.

One solution to this situation is to run DC current into the system and control the current flow simply by the solution concentration. Sounds great but problem is

  1.  as the solution warms the resistance further falls and current flow increases exponentially overloading the vehicle generator/ alternator
  2. There is no effective control of the gas volume produced
  3. The electrolyte boils and steam is not what we want
  4. Thermal runaway changes the chemical thermodynamics of the electrolysis cells and the break down

So some form of circuit is required to limit the current without introducing a load onto the already voltage sensitive circuit.

With this in mind we have developed a relatively simple circuit that limits the voltage loss, does not produce a pointless high frequency output and yet still is able to control the voltage applied to the system so as to control the current flow and not lead to excessive heating of the electrolyte .

This circuit is simple and uses a number of Power FETS and their biasing potentiometers .   Extensive lengthy testing under a variety of temperatures has shown that this simple circuit is far superior , more robust and easier to use than the common PWM and constant current power supplies commonly used .

Hydrogen fuel systems have included this development into their patented design and manufacturing process.  A great advantage of this design is that it can easily and effectively be retrofitted to older systems currently being used  using PWM power controlling devices.

Because it  is patented process the exact schematics of the units will not be released …. Enough to say ,it is a design with will be incorporated  on all  future hydrogenfuelsystems    generator systems.

Kind regards

Gavan Knox

BSc, BEng, BSc, BEd,

For more information call Gavan 0403177183 glknox11@live.com

glknox@dodo.com.au

https://www.hydrogenfuelsystems.com.au

Fuel savings – Fuel Map and Hydrogen on demand systems for engines

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Fuel savings – Fuel Map and Hydrogen on demand systems for engines

Received an interesting question today about how hydrogen systems  use the fuel map to deliver fuel savings.

My response was as follows

Hello Rob

The electronic fuel enhancer module is designed to alter the sensor signals from the

  1. Oxygen sensor

  2. Lambda sensor

  3. Manifold air pressure sensor

  4. Coolant temperature sensor

  5. Intake air temperature sensor

And therefore force the engine ecu to choose a leaner fuel map from its registry , which uses less fuel and delivers more power with a leaner mixture.

The advantage of the enhancer module is that it is only operational when it is powered up. Turning off the ower to the unit allows the engine to return to its normal “inefficient” Fuel map.

Running an engine on Hydrogen and oxygen allows the engine to run leaner with far more power with less fuel input.  The fuel enhancer forces the engine to inject less fuel and further makes it run leaner .  Using Hydrogen injection on a lean fuel map stops the engine overheating due to a number of factors , especially

The enormous increase in the flame speed of the process using hydrogen with the fuel and leading to complete combustion of a smaller fuel charge input followed by adiabatic expansion down the power stroke which in fact cools the engine from within.

 

Hydrogen and the fuel enhancer work together to use the best fuel-map of the ECU to deliver fuel savings and power increase.

More information is visible on the company website https://www.hydrogenfuelsystems.com.au

Please leave comments below at the bottom of this page

Kind regards

Gavan Knox

Manging Director Hydrogen Fuel Systems Pty Ltd

0403177183

https://www.hydrogenfuelsystems.com.au

BSc (Physics, Chemistry), BEng (civil), BEd (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Engineering)

Fuel saver system – gasoline, petrol, diesel, LPG

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Fuel saver system – gasoline.

Product of           https://www.hydrogenfuelsystems.com.au

https://www.youtube.com/edit?video_referrer=watch&video_id=wMmJSKyAaRQ

Fuel saver – frequency multimeter – Tuning Gen 10 Hydrogen fuel system for maximum savings and increased Power

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Fuel saver – frequency multimeter – Tuning Gen 10 Hydrogen fuel system

Fuel saver – frequency multimeter.  Over the  few years I have strived to optimize  the fuel efficiency of my V6 , 3.6 L engine through the use of my patented Hydrogen fuel system

We have achieved massive fuel savings and increased condition and longevity of the engine by using our patented Gen 10 Hydrogen fuel system on the vehicle. Today we Achieve savings of 47% on our family car which is very  satisfying, just using the Hydrogen system and an electronic fuel enhancer module that adjusts  the fuel map ,by adjusting the sensor signals from the following engine sensors

  1. Oxygen sensor

  2. Lambda Sensor

  3. Manifold air pressure sensor

  4. Coolant temperature sensor

  5. Intake air temperature sensor

In the case of the V6 commodore engine there is one other engine sensor which can be adjusted so as to improve the engine operating condition.  This is the Mass intake air flow sensor which is located just before the Throttle body assembly of the engine.  I have never adjusted this sensor as

  1. we have excellent fuel savings already and

  2. we did not have access to a meter which can be used to measure and adjust the Mass intake air flow (MAF) sensor sensor readings

However with the help of fellow university colleagues I made aware of a new device produced by an Australia-wide electronics company called JAYCAR electronics   –     called

Cat III True RMS Auto-ranging 4000 Count DMM with Temperature  Cat Number = QM1551

This device can be used along with our Mass air flow  (MAF) enhancer module to adjust the signal from the mass airflow sensor   on any  vehicle that has a frequency modulated sensor to measure and control and Mass air flow readings sent  to the engine ECU.

IN the past  ( before 2006), the sensors which measure air intake volume were simple Analog  / voltage based systems , and were able to be adjusted by simply putting a resistor in the circuit from the MAF sensor, but these Older style sensors were slow to react , inefficient and easily corrupted making the engine run in Limp Mode.

The Modern , improved and more stable MAF sensor used jn Europe, Australia and ASIA  were the frequency controlled MAF sensors , and now with the New Multimeter from JAYCAR  (Cat Number = QM1551) – It is easily adjusted to further improve the fuel map settings.  Please note that The USA is still a little behind in Using frequency controlled sensors in the MAF Sensor and even the oxygen sensor , as the rest of the world now use… WHY you ask….. well  the USA still has not accepted the metric system as they think they Know Best….. I will leave it to you to come to an opinion on their antiquated choices.

IN the past the MAF sensor is either ignored or the engine ECU is adjusted  be able  to use  a MAFLESS Tune , so as to ignore the MAF sensor readings and their effect on the engine.

IN my case I have found the MAF sensor has been a major sensor for stop start driving , whereas the MAP sensor is the a major sensor for driving at constant Speed

My vehicle economy has been improved from 12.5 L/100 km to 7.2 L/100 km  without using adjustment for the MAF sensor readings. Now with the availability if the New Multimeter from Jacar electronics , the vehicle savings have been further improved which is great fore driving in heavy , stop start  city conditions

For more  information call Gavan 0403177183
BSc, BSc, BEng, MSc, BEd
email glknox11@live.com
https://hydrogenfuelsystems.com.au

0403177183

Fuel saver -Hydrogen system- Importance of secure strong Electrical Terminals and connections

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Fuel saver -Hydrogen system- Importance of secure strong Electrical Terminals and connectionsElectrical Terminals

Secure strong Electrical Terminals

Many people have asked me how important is it make all electrical  terminals secure ? – secure strong Electrical Terminals

My answer is  always “good electrical terminals and junctions must always be perfect, if not welded terminals, so as to reduce / stop energy losses,,, energy that must be used to generate hydrogen rather than produce heat”

The oxidation/ reduction potential of water to produce hydrogen gas is Locked by Science, Locked by Chemical Thermodynamics, Locked by Electrochemistry, Locked by God (Im not meaning to sacrilegious)  If you do not arrange your system to use this REDOX voltage per cell, then all you will produce is steam.  If you want steam then use a Kettle.

Electrolysis of water is the decomposition of water into oxygen and hydrogen gas due to an electric current passed through the water. The reaction has a standard potential of −1.23 V, meaning it ideally requires a potential difference of 1.23 volts to split water

The potential difference of 1.23 volts, is the absolute minimum voltage per cell for the electrolytic reaction, but then there is the voltage required to overcome the internal resistance of the solution.  When everything is taken into account , then 2.2 volts per cell is required to produce hydrogen and oxygen gas in electrolysis- secure strong Electrical Terminals    If fail to provide 2.2 volts for each cell in the system then you cannot produce Hydrogen gas.

Take for example a case when the faulty terminals use 0.4 volts as heat, the voltage drop due to internal resistance of the solution is always 1 volt and therefore less than 1.23 volts is available for the REDOX reaction to produce hydrogen gas.  All you produce is steam

Does this explain the importance of making sure that all electrical terminals are secure and do not waste input voltage as heat

Hydrogen fuel systems pty ltd has solved many terminal risks by MIG welding terminals.  Eg all electrolysis connections in the cells are Mig welded , not just bolted together

In the case of wire junctions that cannot be welded, the bare copper wires must be protected from oxidation and corrosion by  coating wires with protective fluids such as lanoline.  Hydrogen fuel systems also protect wire  connections and at reduce internal resistance of connections by using power ratchet crimpers  and  soldering all crimped wires to connecting terminals

As I have discussed before the key fault of these “Neutral plate arrangements” sold by majority of USA “Hydrogen producer companies” is that many of these companies use up to 101  plates to try and get more gas produced.  These make believe Chemists fail to understand that at 101 plates they actually are trying to have 100 cells.  To get 100 cells operating you need an input voltage of 220 volts…. From a car that only uses a 12 volt battery…. What these cells make is steam and lots of it.

If they use a voltage inverter to ramp up 220 volts and then use 30 amp to make gas then they are trying to get their  battery to generate 220 x 30 = 6600 watts of electrical power…. This is impossible

Call me on 0403177183 or glknox11@live.com  if you would like to learn more.  I am a registered teacher, Physicist, Chemist and Engineer,,, not a “would be, could be” pretend Scientist

Kind regards

Gavan Knox

Engine Air Temperature Sensor

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Engine Air Temperature Sensor

Engine Air Temperature Sensor

The Intake Air Temperature sensor (IAT) monitors the temperature of the air entering the engine. The engine computer – PCM –  needs this information to estimate air density so it can balance air air/fuel mixture. Colder air is more dense than hot air, so cold air requires more fuel to maintain the same air/fuel ratio. The PCM changes the air/fuel ratio by changing the length (on time) of the injector pulses.

On pre-OBD II vehicles (1995 & older), this sensor may be called an Air Charge Temperature (ACT) sensor, a Vane Air Temperature (VAT) sensor, a Manifold Charging Temperature (MCT) sensor, a Manifold Air Temperature (MAT) sensor or a Charge Temperature Sensor (CTS).

HOW THE AIR TEMPERATURE SENSOR WORKS

The Intake Air Temperature sensor is usually mounted in the intake manifold so the tip will be exposed to air entering the engine. On engines that use mass airflow (MAF) sensors to monitor the volume of air entering the engine, the MAP sensor will also have an air temperature sensor built into it. Some engines may also have more than one air temperature sensor (two if it has a split intake manifold or separate intake manifolds on a V6 or V8 engine).

The air temperature sensor is a thermistor, which means its electrical resistance changes in response to changes in temperature.

It works the same as a coolant sensor. The PCM applies a reference voltage to the sensor (usually 5 volts), then looks at the voltage signal it receives back to calculate air temperature. The return voltage signal will change in proportion to changes in air temperature. Most air temperature sensors are negative temperature coefficient (NTC) thermistors with high electrical resistance when they are cold, but the resistance drops as they heat up. However, some work in the opposite manner. They are positive temperature coefficient (PTC) thermistors that have low resistance when cold, and increase in resistance as they heat up. The changing resistance of the sensor causes a change in the return voltage back to the PCM.

On older pre-OBD II applications (1995 & older vehicles), the signal from the air temperature sensor may also be used to turn on the cold start injector (if used) if the outside air temperature is cold. On some of these older applications, the air temperature sensor signal may also be used to delay

the opening of the EGR valve until the engine warms up.

Air temperature sensors are also used in Automatic Climate Control systems. One or more air temperature sensors are used to monitor the temperature of the air inside the passenger compartment, as well as the outside air temperature. The climate control system usually has its own separate outside air temperature sensor located outside the engine compartment so engine heat does not affect it. The outside air temperature sensor will usually be mounted behind the grille or in the cowl area at the base of the windshield.). Most of these sensors work exactly the same as the engine air temperature sensor. But some use an infrared sensor to monitor the body temperature of the vehicle’s occupants.

CAUSES OF FAILURE

An air temperature sensor can sometimes be damaged by

backfiring in the intake manifold. Carbon and oil contamination inside the intake manifold can also coat the tip of the sensor, making it less responsive to sudden changes in air temperature. The air temperature sensor itself may also degrade as a result of heat or old age, causing it to respond more slowly or not at all.

Sensor problems can also be caused by poor electrical connections at the sensor. A loose or corroded wiring connector can affect the sensor’s output, as can damaged wiring in the circuit between the sensor and PCM.

DRIVEABILITY SYMPTOMS

If the intake air temperature sensor is not reading accurately, the PCM may think the air is warmer or colder than it actually is, causing it to miscalculate the air/fuel mixture. The result may be a lean or rich fuel mixture that causes driveability symptoms such as poor idle quality when cold, stumble on cold acceleration, and surging when the engine is warm.

If the engine computer uses the air temperature sensor input to turn on a cold start injector, and the sensor is not reading accurately, it may prevent the cold start injector from working causing a hard cold start condition.

A faulty air temperature sensor may also affect the operation of the ERG valve is the PCM uses air temperature to determine when the EGR valve opens (on most, it uses the coolant temperature input).

On OBD II application (1996 & newer vehicles), a faulty air temperature sensor may prevent the Evaporative (EVAP) Emissions System Monitor from completing. This can prevent a vehicle from passing a plug-in OBD II test (because all the OBD II monitors must run before it can pass the test). The EVAP monitor will only run when the outside temperature is within a certain range (not too cold and not too hot, as a rule).

A faulty air temperature sensor that is reading warmer than normal will typically cause in a lean fuel condition. This increases the risk of detonation and lean misfire (which hurts fuel economy and increases emissions).

A faulty air temperature sensor that is reading colder than normal will typically cause a rich fuel condition. This wastes fuel and also increases emissions.

Sometimes what appears to be a fuel mixture balance problem

due to a faulty air temperature sensor is actually due to

something else, like an engine vacuum leak or even a restricted catalytic converter! A severe exhaust restriction will reduce intake vacuum and airflow causing the sensor to read hotter than normal (because it is picking up heat from the engine).

DIAGNOSING THE AIR TEMPERATURE SENSOR

A faulty air temperature sensor may or may not set a code and turn on the Check Engine light. If the sensor circuit is open or shorted, it will usually set a code. But if it is only reading high or low, or is sluggish due to old age or contamination, it usually will not set a code.

A quick way to check the air temperature sensor is to use a scan tool to compare the air temperature reading to the coolant temperature reading once the engine is warm. A good air temperature sensor will usually read a few degrees cooler

than the coolant sensor.

The sensor’s resistance can also be checked with an ohmmeter.

Remove the sensor, then connect the two leads on the ohmmeter to the two pins in or on the sensor’s wiring connector plug to measure the sensor’s resistance. Measure the sensor’s resistance when it is cold. Then blow hot air at the tip of the sensor with a blow drier (never use a propane torch!) and measure the resistance again. Look for a change in the resistance reading as the sensor warms up.

No change in the sensor’s resistance reading as it heats up would tell you the sensor is bad and needs to be replaced. The sensor reading should gradually decrease if the sensor is a negative thermistor, or gradully increase if it is a positive thermistor. If the reading suddenly goes open (infinite resistance) or shorts out (little or no resistance), you have a bad sensor.

To be really accurate, you should look up the resistance specifications for the air temperature sensor, then measure the sensor’s resistance at low, mid-range and high temperatures to see if it matches the specifications. A sensor that reads within the specified range when cold, may go out of range at higher temperature, or vice versa. Such a sensor would not be accurate and should be replaced.

The resistance and/or voltage test specifications for the air temperature sensor on your engine can be found in a service manual, or by subscribing to the service information on the   vehicle manufacturers service informaTION WEBSITE or AlldataDIY.

AIR TEMERATURE SENSOR REPLACEMENT/REPAIR/ADJUSTMENT

The air temperature sensor is a solid state device so no adjustment is possible. However, it may be possible to clean a dirty sensor so that it functions normally once again provided it is still in good working condition. Contaminants can be removed from the tip of the sensor by (1) removing the sensor from the intake manifold, then (2) spraying the sensor tip with electronics cleaner. For sensors that are mounted inside a MAF sensor, the wire sensing element can also be sprayed with aerosol electronics cleaner. Do not use any other type of cleaner as it may damage the plastic housing or leave behind a chemical residue that may cause problems down the road.

If a sensor is not reading within specifications or has failed, replace it. Fortunately, most air temperature are not very expensive (typically less than $30). Dealers always charge more than aftermarket auto parts stores, so shop around and compare prices before you buy. Labor to change an air temperature sensor is usually minimal, unless the sensor is buried under a lot of other stuff that has to be removed.

When replacing the air temperature sensor, be careful not to overtighten it as this may damage the sensor housing, or the threads in a plastic intake manifold.